Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm
exhibited in east London

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Graffiti depicting gangly imaginary creatures by street artist Phlegm is currently on show at an east London gallery (+ slideshow).

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

Sheffield-based Phlegm normally paints giant murals of fantasy beasts and scenes on walls and sides of buildings around the world.

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

However for this exhibition the street artist has created reliefs of his typical artworks indoors, as part of a large-scale installation made from wood, clay and plaster at the Howard Griffin Gallery in Shoreditch.

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"Phlegm creates surreal illustrations to an untold story, weaving a visual narrative that explores the unreal through creatures from his imagination," said the gallery's owner Richard Howard-Griffin.

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The imagery shows greyscale fantasy figures with exaggerated limbs set amongst woodland animals, ropes and snares.

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

A group of the humanoids appear to be gripped by the tentacles of a monster and one is in the process of being consumed.

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

The artist has also illustrated a bestiary - a compendium of beasts - displaying bizarre half-real, half-imagined creatures in specimen jars on wooden shelves.

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

A boat loaded with these jars is being unloaded by a team of the long-limbed figures further into the space.

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

The embossed paintings and sculptural elements emerge from a patchwork of reused wooden boards, which have been installed across the gallery walls.

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

The Bestiary exhibition opened earlier this month and continues until 4 March. Photography is by Marcus Peel.

More information sent to us by Howard Griffin Gallery follows:


The Bestiary

A bestiary was an illustrated compendium of animals, half real and half imagined, setting out the natural history of each beast within and its moral significance. A bestiary was not a scientific text and while some beasts and descriptions were quite accurate, others were completely fanciful. Such bestiarys belonged to the ancient world and were popularised during the Middle Ages as didactic tools.

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For The Bestiary, Phlegm creates a modern bestiary within his own universe through an immersive and large scale installation in wood, clay and plaster. Here Phlegm presents a taxonomic categorisation of his creatures and collects them in one place for the first time. Within the expansive sections of the installation, and working in bas and high relief, Phlegm displays a series of works akin to the Lascaux cave paintings. Inspired by the bestiarys of old, these works contain untold fables and narratives.

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Phlegm Biography

Phlegm is a Sheffield based muralist and artist who first developed his fantastical illustrations in self-published comics. His work now extends to the urban landscape, and can mostly be seen in run-down and disused spaces. Phlegm creates surreal illustrations to an untold story, weaving a visual narrative that explores the unreal through creatures from his imagination. His storybook-like imagery is half childlike, half menacing, set in built up cityscapes with castles, turrets and winding stairways.

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At other times the city itself is the setting for his long limbed half-human, half-woodland creatures. In this dream world a viewer comes across impossible flying machines and complex networks of levers, pulleys and cogs, set beside telescopes, magnifying glasses and zephyrs. Working solely in monochrome, his fine technique and intricate detail can be seen as a curiosity cabinet of the mind. Each drawing forms part of a grand narrative that extends worldwide, in countries including Norway, Canada, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, USA, Belgium, Poland, Italy, Slovakia and Spain.

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

Some thoughts by Richard Howard-Griffin

Artists like Phlegm are very interesting as they are helping to redefine the dynamics of the art world and causing a revolution in the delivery of public art. High level globe-trotting muralists like Phlegm are reaching huge audiences around the world by painting on an unprecedented international scale. The international breadth and scope of Phlegm's mural work is staggering as is the quality of the work itself. Artists like Phlegm are not dependent on the patronage of traditional art institutions, museums, critics and curators for their success. By painting outdoors on a grand global scale they have effectively cut out the middle man, it is a democratisation of art. These are the artists that we represent at Howard Griffin Gallery.

Graffiti fantasy creatures by Phlegm exhibited in east London

  • Credo

    It’s not graffiti, it’s a mural on exhibition. If I tell you that a dog’s tail is actually it’s 5th leg, what does it mean? Nothing because dogs don’t have more than 4 legs and saying so doesn’t make it true. Graffiti artists have integrity that should be preserved.

  • ScuffedShoes

    Stylistically, Edward Gorey meets Maurice Sendak.